Fall Dance Day brings high school students to GVSU

By Carmen Smith | 11/20/16 11:07pm

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GVSU dance professor Sam Shelton (center back) instructs high school students in ballet technique during Fall Dance Day Friday, Nov. 18.

by GVL / Audra Gamble / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State University dance program hosted the annual Fall Dance Day Friday, Nov. 18, bringing in over 30 high school students to show them a day in the life of a dance student at GVSU.

Students arrived to the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus at 9 a.m. The day started with an informal ballet class, followed by an informal performance of two pieces from the freshman dance company and two pieces from the dance company at GVSU.

Following the informal performances, GVSU students and faculty held a discussion for the high school students, allowing them to ask any questions they had about dance or being a dance student. During the event, high school students were provided lunch and finished the day off with an informal modern technique dance class.

GVL / Audra Gamble | Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVSU student Robin Hutchings (center) practices tendus during a ballet technique class Friday, Nov. 18 as part of Fall Dance Day.

“It gives us a chance to get the name of the program out there, and it also gives them a chance to experience a normal day at GVSU as a dance major,” said dance professor Samantha Shelton. “A few of them will ask for campus tours and that kind of thing, too.”

The GVSU Fall Dance Day gives prospective students the opportunity to experience a day as a dance student, without the stress of a formal audition. Along with a few other universities, GVSU hosts this event to allow students to explore the university and programs, meet students and faculty, and see what their audition day will be like if they decide to audition for the dance program in the future.

“I think you can hear someone talk about how great a place is and how great the students, faculty, and classes are, but there’s something different about experiencing that for yourself,” said dance professor Carrie Morris. “You aren’t being evaluated when you come dance with us for Dance Day, it’s really for the experience of it and to have fun. It isn’t an audition.”

Fall Dance Days are also recruitment opportunities for the dance department. It gives the faculty a chance to show the community what they’ve been working on and what to expect at an audition to become a dance student at GVSU.

GVL / Audra Gamble | Grand Valley Lanthorn

GVSU students and high school dancers perform ballet barre exercises during Fall Dance Day at the Performing Art Center Friday, Nov. 18.

Morris encourages students to join the event without feeling nervous because one of the great things about GVSU's dance program is its small size, creating a family atmosphere. Morris said they’re a highly inclusive program and are interested in helping everyone succeed.

In addition to Fall Dance Day, the GVSU dance department will be holding another Dance Day March 31. Any students interested in seeing what the GVSU dance department is doing will have an opportunity to attend two upcoming performances this semester.

The fall dance concert Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. will be held at the Louis Armstrong Theatre. The following weekend, Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10, is the senior dance concert, which showcases graduating dance majors who present their own choreography and original performances. Both performances will be at 7 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre.

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